Recipes Snacks and Appetizers

Baked Stuffed Jalapeños

Jalapeños Peppers stuffed with cheese and bacon make a great appetizer for a crowd! They're easy to prep ahead and then throw a batch in the oven when people get hungry.

Stuffed Jalapenos
Sally P Vargas

Are you a risk taker? I think one has to be a bit adventurous to eat jalapeños.

You never know if biting into one is going to yield that wonderful flavor and kick that is the basis for so much of Southwestern food. Or if that one little bite will pack such a fiery punch that you'll be running around the room mouth agape and tears in your eyes, begging for something to cool it all down.

Dairy is the Antidote to Jalapeño Heat

If you find that the pepper you've bitten into is just too hot for your tongue, cool it off with sour cream, milk, or cream cheese. That's the trick and the reason why cheese is so often paired with hot chiles.

There's something in the milk protein that lessens the impact of the capsaicin (the molecules that give chiles their heat). Which is one very good reason why stuffed jalapeños are stuffed with cheese, among other things.

By the way, if you want mild peppers, look for peppers with smooth skins. Striations tend to indicate that the pepper has been stressed while growing, and that can mean a hotter pepper.

Baked Stuffed Jalapenos
Sally P Vargas

Baked Jalapeño Poppers - Mixing it Up

The other good reason why stuffed jalapeños are filled with cheese is they taste good that way! Hank and I decided to experiment with stuffed jalapeños this week.

We stuffed them with cheddar, with jack, with pepper jack, with cream cheese, with bacon mixed with lots of other things, and we ended up with two favorites.

Favorites Stuffed Jalapeño Flavors

One of our favorite jalapeño poppers was the cream cheese stuffed jalapeño filled with onions, cilantro, cumin and a little bit of jack cheese. The other favorite is similar but has jack cheese and bacon instead of the cream cheese. But you can really do whatever you want here.

Mix it up. Try adding some shrimp, or barbecue sauce. Use queso fresco instead of the cream cheese. Out of the two baked jalapeño poppers recipes below, I loved the way the cream cheese enveloped the jalapeños in my mouth. Hank likes the bacon and jack (well, he would like the bacon version, no duh.)

Stuffed Jalapeno Recipe
Sally P Vargas

A Word about Working with Hot Peppers

When working with jalapeños, it helps to wear disposable gloves. If you don't have gloves, coat your hands with some cooking oil to protect your skin before working with the peppers. Once you are finished, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Do not touch your eyes for several hours after handling the peppers.

Can You Make These Ahead of Time?

You can prep everything and keep them in the fridge a day ahead, and then bake the peppers when you're ready to serve them.

Do you have a favorite stuffing for stuffed jalapeños or baked jalapeño poppers? We would love to hear about it!

Love Jalapeños? Here Are 5 More Recipes to Try:

Baked Stuffed Jalapeños

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 12 to 24 servings
If you want mild peppers for this recipe, look for peppers with smooth skins. Striations tend to indicate that the pepper has been stressed while growing, and that can mean a hotter pepper. When working with jalapeños, it helps to wear disposable gloves. If you don't have gloves, coat your hands with some oil before working with the peppers. Once you are finished, wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Do not touch your eyes for several hours after handling the peppers.

Ingredients

  • For the cream cheese filling version:
  • 12 jalapeño peppers (see Recipe Note)
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
  • 2 ounces jack cheese, cut into 2 1/2-inch long batons
  • For the bacon and jack cheese filling version:
  • 12 jalapeño peppers (see Recipe Note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese, plus another 2 ounces of jack cheese cut into 2 1/2-inch long batons
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare the jalapeños for stuffing.

    You can either slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise or you can slice off the top one-third (lengthwise) of each jalapeño to make a boat shape out of each pepper.

    The halved jalapeños will go further (twice as many stuffed peppers), but you can put more filling into the boat-shaped peppers. Your choice.

    If you choose to make the boats, you can mince the tops and add them to the filling if you want some extra heat, or save them for another recipe.

    In either case, scrape out all the seeds and ribs from each jalapeño with a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works great).

    Stuffed Jalapenos scrape out the seeds
    Sally P Vargas
  3. Mix.

    Mix together all the filling ingredients except the jack cheese batons.

  4. Stuff the jalapeños:

    Pack the filling into the peppers and nestle a baton of jack cheese onto the filling of each one.

    Baked Stuffed Jalapenos
    Sally P Vargas
  5. Bake.

    Arrange the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, and the peppers are cooked.

    Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

    Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers bake the peppers
    Sally P Vargas